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Education: The Great Equaliser!

Hello and welcome,
The following points have been expanded in the books available via my web site. They contain much more about accessing learning and the development of valuable skills.

Rgds Clive.

If You Don’t Do It Who Will?

Books

Disability and support: suggestions for teachers, tutors and teaching assistants

Introduction

Study skills learned during full time education may have a direct impact on employment; for example, we all need to,

  • Gather, store and retrieve information

  • Manage time

Etc

Listening Skills

With greater use of recorded materials, verbal explanations and descriptions listening skills are important and may need to be taught.

Visual Skills

Children or young people may also need training to maximise vision. This may include learning to,

  • Scan systematically

Etc

Extra Time

To access information children and young people with low vision need extra time …

Study Skills

Older children and young people should be encouraged to manage their own time and work independently. This requires a grasp of key study skills …

Visual information is immediate, versatile and dominates our lives. It is less efficient to access information via,

  • Sound

  • Touch

Study skills help minimise the imbalance …

Suggestions

Children and young people should be encouraged to,

  • Plan ahead

Etc

Understanding and accepting that tasks will often take longer is an important part of learning.

Accessing Information

Children and young people require modified or adapted information presented via,

  • Large print

  • Braille

  • MOON

  • Audio format

With imperfect vision using touch or hearing means access to learning is reduced. It is

  • Not so immediate

Etc

Consequently, strategies may need to be taught.

Suggestions

  • Identify information on a tape before listening

Etc

Time and Effort: Learning Specialist Recording Skills

To record information a child or young person with low vision often uses,

  • Touch typing

  • Specialist ICT

  • Braille

Learning these skills requires extra time …

Braille requires the learning of a different code. Along with touch typing these are skills often learned on top of hand writing and reading standard print: not instead of …

Practical Everyday Implications

Inevitably a learner with low vision will need more than a pen to record work …

If a braillist, standard teaching practices employed for children and young people fully sighted are further complicated …

Suggestions

  • Title and number pages

Etc

If this isn’t done, finding lost or mislaid work not only undermines the child or young person’s credibility but searching is also,

  • Time and effort consuming

  • Stressful

Etc

Learning to Read and Write May Take Longer

Learning to read and write can take longer for children with low vision. This occurs because it takes longer to subconsciously imbed the skills …

Maintaining Concentration and Interest

This can be done in several ways,

  • Avoid materials being visually complicated. Complicated learning resources are hard to see

Etc

Suggestions

Learning exercises often take longer to access and record. Therefore,

  • Use fewer exercises to consolidate learning

Etc

Avoiding Overload

Ultimately, a child or young person may become over loaded if tasks aren’t appropriately differentiated and take account of issues surrounding access and time. This can be avoided …

Suggestions

  • Reduce content

Etc

Introduction

In a mainstream setting a teaching assistant experienced and specialising in a specific disability can give a class teacher specialist knowledge and expertise.

On a daily basis s/he can,

  • Advise on the educational implications of a disability

Etc

With personal knowledge of a child or young person the TA can advise about personality, the disability in functional terms and accessing information. Of course, this requires structured and quantifiable training.

Suggestions

  • A TA should not be asked to teach a child or young person whilst the class teacher teaches the class

Etc

Aims

The aims of a TA involve supporting a child or young person to,

  • Maximise access to the curriculum

Etc

Support Can Be Placed Under Two Headings: Direct and Indirect

Direct support takes place,

  • During practical work

Etc

After appropriate training a TA can supervise the child or young person during the practicing of specialist skills; for example,

  • Touch typing

Etc

Indirect support takes place during,

  • Re-writing, enlarging or brailling the child or young person’s materials

Etc

Suggestions

  • Be continually sensitive to the child or young person’s disability and inability to access the curriculum without assistance

Etc

Poor quality materials, delivered late and in an unsuitable format has a negative impact on learning. Consider what this says to the learner about the support being given …

Too Much Support

TAs assist children and young people to access lesson content and activities. Sometimes this can mean a TA actually doing the child or young person’s work to avoid the learner falling behind. However, whilst the child or individual may cover the curriculum s/he may not be developing the necessary study skills and incidental learning to achieve independence.

Suggestions

  • If direct involvement cannot be avoided encourage the child or young person to take the initiative and organise work

Etc

Introduction

To highlight issues and make the piece less abstract the disability used is visual impairment. However, the points raised could apply equally to other disability too.

Following are a number of skills and requirements which a TA may need to address when supporting a disabled child.

Planning Skills

If meaningful integration is to be achieved planning is required in order to identify the tasks and materials needed to be adapted and modified …

Life for many with low vision and a disability in general may need a more organised and regimented education. Consequently, a child or young person should not be allowed to develop for example a belief that it is someone else’s responsibility to find and carry materials necessary for lessons.

Suggestions

  • A routine is often needed whereby the child or young person’s responsibilities are clearly defined

Etc

Reading

Reading and writing is likely to take longer for a child or young person with low vision. Therefore, strategies are required to identify and extract necessary information from a text.

Suggestions

  • Provide structured questions as sign posts for reading which add purpose to the task

Etc

Organisation and Storage

From the beginning children should be encouraged to consistently organise and store materials so they can be accessed independently.

In primary school storage to encourage independence is easier ...

Later, when a child or young person moves around the school or college a single storage space is often not enough …

Suggestions

  • Whether equipment or materials are stored on shelves, in cupboards or draws, everything should be independently accessible …

Etc

Resources for Reference

Being able to access reference materials independently is extremely important especially during later education.

Information may need to be accessed when using magnification or speech synthesizer. Access can take even longer if a tactile learner; for example,

  • A dictionary, if available, is difficult to physically manage if in Braille or large print …

Etc

Suggestions

  • A reader or electronic dictionary may be a more realistic option

Etc

Learning in General

A few considerations,

  • Learning is not only about a results but also experiencing the process

  • Support is justified and sometimes unavoidable …

Etc

Out of School Visits

To achieve equal participation,

  • A venue should be visited beforehand to assess suitability …

  • Give advanced notice to venue staff …

Etc

Books

Copyright 2021